(navigation image)
Home American Libraries | Canadian Libraries | Universal Library | Community Texts | Project Gutenberg | Biodiversity Heritage Library | Children's Library | Additional Collections
Search: Advanced Search
Anonymous User (login or join us)
Upload
See other formats

Full text of "Men Of Mathematics"

THE  DOUBTEB,
his life. In none of them was he a mere dahbler: his love of the
classics of antiquity bore tangible fruit in his affiliation with
Graeea, a society dedicated to the translation and populariza-
tion of the Greek classics; his keen appreciation of art made him
an acute critic of painting and sculpture, and his beautiful
house hi Berlin became a rendezvous for musicians, among them
Felix Mendelssohn.
Entering the University of Berlin in the spring of 1841 *
Kronecker continued his broad education but began to concen-
trate on mathematics. Berlin at that time boasted Dirichlet
(1805-59), Jacobi (1804-51) and Steiner (1796-1863) on its
mathematical faculty; Eisenstein (1823-52), the same age as
Kronecker, also was about, and the two became Mends.
The influence of Dirichlet on Kronecker's mathematical
tastes (particularly in the application of analysis to the theory
of numbers) is clear all through his mature writings. Steiner
seems to have made no impression on him; Kroneeker had no
feeling for geometry. Jacobi gave him a taste for elliptic func-
tions which he was to cultivate with striking originality and
brilliant success, chiefly in novel applications of magical beauty
to the theory of numbers.
Kronecker's university career was a repetition on a larger
scale of his years at school: he attended lectures on the classics
and the sciences and indulged his bent for philosophy by pro-
founder studies than any he had as yet undertaken, particularly
in the system of Hegel. The last is emphasized because some
curious and competent reader may be moved to seek the origin
of Kronecker's mathematical heresies in the abstrusities of
HegeFs dialectic - a quest wholly beyond the powers of the
present writer. Nevertheless there is a strange similarity be-
tween some of the weird unorthodoxies of recent doubts con-
cerning the self-consistency of mathematics - doubts for which
Kronecker's 'revolution' was partly responsible - and the
subtleties of Hegel's system. The ideal candidate for such an
undertaking would be a Marxian communist with a sound
training in Polish many-valued logic, though in what incense
tree this rare bird is to be sought God only knows.
Following the usual custom of German students, Kroaecker
517